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Remembering World War I in Portsmouth

888. Allan Thompson

Allan Thompson, aged 86, is the volunteer responsible for renovating Portsmouth’s only World War 1 museum, despite being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

As a Royal Navy Veteran, Allan used his engineering expertise to renovate the ‘World War I Remembrance Centre’ that was previously in disrepair. By resetting the windows and decorating the entire site, Allan has helped to restore the site in his area which has a significant military history. Despite setbacks to his work, when vandals caused thousands of pounds of damage to the historic Bastion Six fortification by launching bricks through the windows and spray-painting the walls, Allan was determined to continue restoring the site. After three years of intensive restoration work, the centre opened in July 2017.

In a personal letter to Allan, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“By renovating the ‘World War I Remembrance Centre’ in Portsmouth, you have ensured that your local community has a place to honour those who sacrificed so much for our country. When vandals damaged the Bastion Six fortification, you carried on in spite of this, demonstrating your tireless dedication. You should be very proud of drawing on your military and engineering expertise to complete the renovations and preserve Portsmouth’s military history.”

Penndy Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth, who recommended Allan for a Point of Light, said:

“I am so pleased that Mr Thompson is being presented with a Points of Light award.  I have been told about the amazing voluntary work he has done to restore the ‘World War 1 Remembrance Centre’ despite his own health issues, and that even when the site was vandalised, he was determined to continue with the restoration. I am glad to hear he is being recognised for this.”

Allan said:

“I am so pleased and delighted to receive this award. I have been working hard for the past three years to restore this wonderful, historic building using my knowledge of traditional building and carpentry techniques. This is now home to the amazing ‘World War 1 Remembrance Centre’ in Portsmouth. I am so pleased to see visitors from the UK (especially children) and many parts of the world coming in to remember and keep alive the memories of all people involved in the Great War, a lost generation.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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